What gets in my Hair: racism still a problem at CHS, beyond


By Thomas Hair
Opinions Editor

Sometimes, just three words can permanently change your outlook. Even three words read on a tiny cell phone screen during a monotonous bus ride.

It was a particularly bumpy bus ride. I was sitting there texting a friend of mine, unsuccessfully attempting to block out the screeching chatter of the freshman girls behind me. Admittedly, my friend and I were gossiping about another student, a black student named John*, whom neither of us really like.

We were exchanging rumors that John could soon be facing suspension. Speculating about a kid we find annoying being suspended was all fun and games until I heard the familiar ding of my cell phone and read the first three words of my friend’s newest text.

Just three words. I do not want to repeat the words because I do not want anyone else to be offended by them in the way I was. The words blatantly equated African Americans with animals.

I didn’t read the rest of the text. I just froze, struck by the malice of those first three words. Regardless of my lack of fondness for him, John is not an animal. He is a perfectly normal human being.

In today’s society, it is nearly impossible not to be racist. I’m not saying we all have a buried desire to run off and join the KKK, but we all commit minor forms of racism on a daily basis. We do. No matter how principled you are, you sometimes expect people to act, behave, dress or think a certain way or like certain things based on their race.

Lightheartedly joking about the cliché stereotypes associated with various races can be funny to some, but there is a line we must not cross. We must not let these false stereotypes seep into our brain and change the way we view people. We must not typecast our peers, whether they are black, white, Asian or Hispanic.

It has been a few weeks since I first read that text, but those three words of blatant racism have stuck in my brain. The more I think about them, the more disgusting they become.

I wish I had confronted my friend about the text to let him know how wrong he was, that I don’t tolerate that sort of bigotry.

My friend nonchalantly equating people of African descent with dumb animals is one of the worst forms of bigotry I have experienced firsthand. Just those three words can be far more hurtful than any physical pain. It can make an individual feel subhuman and belittled. It can make an entire family, an entire race feel subhuman and belittled, like apes on display at the zoo for their amusing primitivity.

Incidents like this remind me how recently it was that African Americans and others suffered terrible discrimination in this country. As recently as 50 years ago, blacks were cast off in sub-par schools and bathrooms. For some of us, that is during our parents’ lifetime.

Slavery and segregation are enormous black eyes on the face of America that still have not completely faded away. Though no one sells slaves at the Town Square anymore as they once did in centuries past, traces of it remain today in the form of silent racism. Is discreetly belittling African Americans really any better than doing it brazenly?

All types of people are human beings, and deserve to be treated as such. Skin color has absolutely no impact on someone’s personality, intelligence or behavior. We all experience the same emotions and feelings. Why is it so hard for humans of every culture to realize this fact and be more sympathetic with others?

My friend despicably labeling John as subhuman has opened my eyes to how much racism still exists, even at Coppell High School. This even includes subconscious racism, such as labeling that Asian you’ve never met as a quiet nerd. Every person of every race has more to them than a stereotype.

We all must start doing our part to make the world, or at least these halls, a better place by treating people of all races with the respect and dignity the deserve.

*Real name replaced